A year ago we were all back at home, or in work lamenting the absolute disaster that was WorldPride London 2012. We’d invited friends from all over the world to come join us in a huge celebration of equality and we failed to deliver in quite a spectacular fashion. Street licensing was denied, the parade was scaled back, entertainment was cancelled – all we got was a mini-march and Gok Wan on a stage telling us all to go home.
That was the last event organised by ‘Pride London’, their mismanagement and financial disasters embarrassed us all. This year the Mayor of London opened the contract to run ‘Pride in London’ up to bidding and a new Community Interest Company (CIC) called ‘London LGBT+ Community Pride’ was chosen. With only five months between being awarded the contract and the festival itself the organisers certainly had their work cut out for them.
There were concerns that it wouldn’t be done in time, that the finances wouldn’t stretch to meet what people have come to expect of a pride event in one of the world’s major cities. But those fears were unfounded. This year’s pride was one of the biggest and best I’ve ever attended – and I’ve been to a LOT of pride events in the last eleven years.
Across the whole weekend there was an electric buzz in the air, the festival had come together, the weather was good and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. The parade was one of the biggest yet with 150 individual walking groups, including representatives from LGBT organisations, sexual health charities, proud employers, LGBT sports teams and many many more. I was proud to be walking with the National AIDS Trust‘s HIV Activism group (the passion wagon) – a group of people dedicated to transforming the way people see HIV and those living with it.
I headed up to Soho after the parade with the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) gang, we wandered around, spoke to some people and had a few G&Ts. The atmosphere was incredible – everyone was smiling, dancing and drinking. There were the usual queues for the bars but no-one seemed to mind – they were all too busy having a good time.
After last year’s debacle I sincerely wondered if we’d see another London Pride on the same scale of previous years, whether the failure of the year before would put people off attending or stop companies from sponsoring the event – but thankfully none of that came to pass. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank London LGBT+ Community Pride for putting on a great event, for rescuing London Pride, for showing us how it’s done – and for how professionally they ran the event and looked after those of use in the media.
Finally I’d like to thank the 1,200 volunteers who gave up their precious time to help ensure this event went smoothly – without you guys there wouldn’t have been a pride to go to. Bravo guys.
To view my photos from Pride in London 2013 – head over to my Flickr gallery here.
If you’d like to use one of my photos for someone please send me an email via my contact page.